20090530-st-lupulinSt. Lupulin is a new seasonal brew by Odell Brewing Co. in Colorado. Regular readers know I don’t meet an Odell beer I don’t like, so I try not to be biased, but I have high expectations for this beer simply because of the brewer. I absolutely love the label art, seen here to your left. First, though, let’s look at the name of this beer…

St. Lupulin is a fictional character made up by the brewery… a sort of Johnny Appleseed figure, or a patron saint of our beloved friend, the hop cone! Lupulin is a powder that comes from the glands of the hop plant, in the cone. When you want to experience the aroma of a hop cone, you rub it vigorously between your hands, cup your palms, and inhale. The yellow stain you get on your hands comes from the lupulin. It is this lupulin powder that contains most of the compounds we like about hops for beer and medicinal use.

Lupulin powder

Lupulin powder

Enough biology, let’s get to the beer! The brewery calls this an “extra pale ale” so it would probably fit the American Pale Ale style. It is available from June-September and weighs in at 6.5% ABV.

The beer pours a cloudy gold-orange color with some reddish highlights at the edge of the glass. A nice white head forms, but dissipates quickly.

The aroma is all citrus hops, with grapefruit tones, but not as harsh as with an IPA, for example. I get some notes of soft fruit, too, almost like peaches, perhaps? The aroma reminds me a lot of a toned-down version of  Sierra Nevada Torpedo, but a lot more mellow.

The flavor is definitely hop-forward, with a little malt hitting the tongue, then a wash of citrusy, floral hops washing over the tongue and causing that little “pinch” of bitterness at the edges of the tongue and cheeks. St. Lupulin has a fairly dry finish with a nice hop bitterness that lingers for some time. About halfway into the sip I was occasionally getting some of that slighlty metallic “Noble twang” that is sometimes associated with European hops, so I’d be curious to know what the hop additions looked like for this beer.

The carbonation level is just right for this beer, and it’s really refreshing. The mouthfeel is a little on the thin side for me, but really this is a nice beer. Despite being so hop-dominant, there must be a fair amount of malt in this beer because it is more subtle than an IPA and it doesn’t beat my palate into submission like hop bombs do. This would make a great “lawnmower” beer or something to pair with fish or seafood off the grill. Another winner from Odell!

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